WHAT’S with all this happiness lark?

Last week I felt like screaming at the car radio as a guest on BBC Five Live was plugging his latest book on how to achieve happiness.

Then this week on BBC Breakfast TV they sent a reporter out with placards with one word messages like Happy, Stressed, Calm, Sad and handing them to people in the street to see how their state of mind corresponded with them.

This time I was screaming at the TV screen. Why? For the simple reason that they’ve got it all wrong. The one word that never figured in either of the broadcasts was simply – Contentment. While the definition of ‘happy’ in the Oxford dictionary is ‘Contented with one’s lot’ there’s a whole heap of difference between happiness and contentment.

Happiness is transient. You can be happy one moment and sad the next which is perfectly acceptable. We need to be sad at times in order to measure the time when we are happy.

Do we really want to walk around with an inane grin our faces trying to convince others we really are happy? Contentment, on the other hand, is a more stable, longer lasting state where we strive to be satisfied with the deal we were handed however unfairly we may feel we have been treated by God.

Of course both happiness and contentment are difficult to achieve. Try putting the question, are you happy or content? to the man who has lost his job and is genuinely trying to find another, to the thousands of lonely, elderly people eking out a miserable existence either in their own homes or care homes, to the thousands of children subjected to abuse or violence … the list is endless.

The problem is that happy, happiness, happily have become firmly ensconced in our works of literature and song, whereas content, contented, contentment only rarely see the light of day. I know Ken Dodd wouldn’t appreciate altering his song Happiness to Contentment. It wouldn’t scan and it just would not sound right.

And I think I would spark a minor revolution if I suggested that all our fairy tales were to be changed to: ‘And they all lived contentedly ever after’. On the other hand it could be worth a try.

Stan Solomons


The gift of life

JANUARY 22 was an ominous day of mourning in the US. On that day in 1973 the US Supreme Court cast a dark cloud over America by outlawing unwanted human life.

On that day the courts decreed, in clenched affirmation, that the womb – the very cradle of life – was the most unsafe place for a innocent human being to live.

But no matter how decadent and nihilistic our leaders, media, and lobbyists (like Planned Parenthood) have become in praise of a false sense of freedom, they will never quash the true human spirit of life and liberty that lives and grows in the very depths of the common man.

This is because ‘everyman’ is educated by his heart and conscience, not his pride. He cannot be deceived by the intricate tricks of the intellect that would lead him to doubt the obvious fact that an embryo is a human being or believe that human beings in their earliest stages of existence are expendable.

Happily, this is becoming increasing clear in the insuppressible and ever vibrant ‘Walks for Life’ that are springing up around the world.

Let us not give in to the false promises and hopes of our contemporary elites who tell us that we should live only for today and forget the gift of life in the womb. Let us instead shout from the hilltops the scientific fact and moral truth that a human embryo is a dynamic, autonomous, and marvellously ordered human being.

Sam Miller


Parking places

OF course St Peter’s Street and Cloth Hall Street, plus many other town centre roads, are yielding massive amounts of money from parking fines.

They represent easy pickings for the parking attendant who wants a good day’s catch.

Mostly the fines are doled out to drivers who have parked legally but outstayed their welcome and are not causing inconvenience or hazard.

How about the wardens doing a more useful job such as visiting Milnsbridge occasionally, where one can always find illegally parked vehicles – or drivers who think it’s all right to stop on double yellow lines because they are not really ‘parking’ – dotted down Market Street.

These idle drivers constantly make life difficult, and sometimes dangerous, for the through traffic by causing actual obstruction. Rather than just notching up points in the town centre, let us for once see the wardens helping to sort out a real problem.

Alan Starr


We like our cars

I READ this week about the heinous amount of money collected from the motorists of Huddersfield by Kirklees and the traffic wardens – and all for what?

As the council admit, most of the money goes to pay for those who dish out the tickets and on administration.

So my question is, why do it then? The ill will it causes is beyond belief. We should lead the way here in Huddersfield by removing 90% of the double lines thus making lots more parking spaces.

Cars should be able to park almost anywhere as long as they do not cause an obstruction and the emergency services can get through at all times.

Two or three traffic wardens walking around town should be all we need. We need two hours’ free parking anywhere. We like our cars and the Government is not going to change our minds any time soon.

Peter K Garside


Spending priorities

THE Examiner has rightly highlighted excessive and unnecessary spending by the council.

As is well known, there are no Conservative councillors in the Huddersfield area covered by the Huddersfield Area Committee. I would like to highlight some of the spending nodded through that forum with little or no discussion:

£2,792 for fruit trees in Newsome ward; £4,000 for hanging baskets Almondbury ward; £1,200 for wide screen TV in the Edale complex, Newsome ward; £35,000 for a green gym in Almondbury ward; £2,000 to discuss what is going on in Newsome ward.

At a time when money is tight, do councillors not think that there needs to be a serious re-think on their priorities?

My favourite waste of money is the £2,000 spent by the Green councillors to hold a party with the various groups in the Newsome ward.

I attended last year when I was standing in the ward as a candidate.

Tremendous fun eating cakes, smoked salmon, drinking, having a quiz and playing games but oneŠ was left with the impression thatŠ if you want to ask what is going on in Newsome, ask the people paying higher taxes and being made redundant to pay for party politicking like this.

Bernard McGuin

Newsome Conservatives


I HAVE just watched a video showing three hoodies and a scrap dealer crushing stolen band instruments.

The band leader had actually phoned the dealer asking him to look out for the stolen instruments following a burglary. The result of this was that instruments were crushed the minute they arrived at the yard.

The dealer had not thought to destroy his security CCTV recording, which is what made the event newsworthy as well as, very unusually, capable of being prosecuted.

The report said that the burglars received £61 scrap value for instruments worth £16,000. The dealer was found guilty of handling stolen goods and given a suspended jail sentence and awarded prosecution costs of £2,800. The band was awarded £500 (yes, five hundred) compensation.

One of the burglars had a six previous convictions so he got six months (ie, three months) in prison. The other two got suspended sentences and community service.

I do not think I am alone in getting uselessly angry whenever I read reports like this and of such items as railway signalling wire, church roofs and bronze statues disappearing at horrendous cost to many victims and peanuts in profit for the morons who cause such wanton damage.

What is most sickening is the helpless state of the law. A scrap dealer who accepts stolen stuff should have his business closed and all his assets confiscated, not merely as punishment but as the best way to reduce the amount of theft.

A mere warning to be more careful next time is not enough to affect the behaviour of conscience-free villains who currently can just laugh at the law.

Mark Mercer


You’ll pay for it

BERNARD McGuin of Marsh told us that the public purse was paying for the Private Finance Initiative ‘over 20 years’ (Mailbag, January 21.)

Surely he should have said that the public purse is paying for it ‘over and over and over again for 20 years’?

T Howard Firth

Salendine Nook